Poetry: Roald Dahl (again)


*As I was searching through my drafts pile, I found this old post from June 2011. That’s TWO THOUSAND ELEVEN. I have no idea why I didn’t post it. Here goes:

The kids and I are still reading a bit of Vile Verses every morning. They are a tad bit morbid.  We either laugh our heads off or say, “Ewww!” Know what I mean? But I like this one because after reading it my kids can say their teacher is “totally divine.” No ear wrenching here!

Mister Unsworth
(previously unpublished)

My teacher wasn’t half as nice as yours seems to be.
His name was Mister Unsworth and he taught us history,
And when you didn’t know a date he’d get you by the ear
And start to twist while there you sat quite paralysed with fear.
He’d twist and twist and twist your ear and twist it more and more,
Until at last the ear came off and landed on the floor.
Our class was full of one-eared boys, I’m certain there were eight,
Who’d had them twisted off because they didn’t know a date.
So let us now praise teachers who today are all so fine
And yours in particular is totally divine.

One Day More…and a new year begins


The Passing of the Year
by Robert W. Service

My glass is filled, my pipe is lit,
My den is all a cosy glow;
And snug before the fire I sit,
And wait to feel the old year go.
I dedicate to solemn thought
Amid my too-unthinking days,
This sober moment, sadly fraught
With much of blame, with little praise.

Old Year! upon the Stage of Time
You stand to bow your last adieu;
A moment, and the prompter’s chime
Will ring the curtain down on you.
Your mien is sad, your step is slow;
You falter as a Sage in pain;
Yet turn, Old Year, before you go,
And face your audience again.

That sphinx-like face, remote, austere,
Let us all read, whate’er the cost:
O Maiden! why that bitter tear?
Is it for dear one you have lost?
Is it for fond illusion gone?
For trusted lover proved untrue?
O sweet girl-face, so sad, so wan
What hath the Old Year meant to you?

And you, O neighbour on my right
So sleek, so prosperously clad!
What see you in that aged wight
That makes your smile so gay and glad?
What opportunity unmissed?
What golden gain, what pride of place?
What splendid hope? O Optimist!
What read you in that withered face?

And You, deep shrinking in the gloom,
What find you in that filmy gaze?
What menace of a tragic doom?
What dark, condemning yesterdays?
What urge to crime, what evil done?
What cold, confronting shape of fear?
O haggard, haunted, hidden One
What see you in the dying year?

And so from face to face I flit,
The countless eyes that stare and stare;
Some are with approbation lit,
And some are shadowed with despair.
Some show a smile and some a frown;
Some joy and hope, some pain and woe:
Enough! Oh, ring the curtain down!
Old weary year! it’s time to go.

My pipe is out, my glass is dry;
My fire is almost ashes too;
But once again, before you go,
And I prepare to meet the New:
Old Year! a parting word that’s true,
For we’ve been comrades, you and I —
I thank God for each day of you;
There! bless you now! Old Year, good-bye!

Christmas Morning [meditating on the Incarnation]


These few lines from an Augustine sermon may not have a title; nevertheless, may they serve you as well as they did me early this morning. Merry Christmas!

***

Man’s maker was made man,
that He, Ruler of the stars, might nurse at His mother’s breast;
that the Bread might hunger,
the Fountain thirst,
the Light sleep,
the Way be tired on its journey;
that the Truth might be accused of false witness,
the Teacher be beaten with whips,
the Foundation be suspended on wood;
that Strength might grow weak;
that the Healer might be wounded;
that Life might die.

– Augustine of Hippo

The Oxen [poem by T. Hardy]


The Oxen
by Thomas Hardy

Christmas Eve, and twelve of the clock.
“Now they are all on their knees,”
An elder said as we sat in a flock
By the embers in hearthside ease.

We pictured the meek mild creatures where
They dwelt in their strawy pen,
Nor did it occur to one of us there
To doubt they were kneeling then.

So fair a fancy few would weave
In these years! Yet, I feel,
If someone said on Christmas Eve,
“Come; see the oxen kneel,

“In the lonely barton by yonder coomb
Our childhood used to know,”
I should go with him in the gloom,
Hoping it might be so.